Is your yard brown from a harsh winter?
Good. Here are 10 reasons why you should stop fussing over your lawn and let it die.
1. Grass lawns waste water. No surprise here. According to the EPA, 30 to 60 percent of urban fresh water is used for watering lawns — and due to poor timing and application, most of this water is totally wasted.
2. Grass lawns waste energy. According to the EPA, each year in the United States:
- $5.25 billion is spent on fossil fuel-derived fertilizers for lawns.
- 580 million gallons of gasoline are used for lawnmowers.
- 17 million gallons of gas are spilled each year refueling lawn and garden equipment – more oil than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez. In addition to groundwater contamination, spilled fuel that evaporates into the air and volatile organic compounds spit out by small engines make smog-forming ozone when cooked by heat and sunlight.
3. Lawns waste time. You know all of those hours you spend mowing your lawn? Don’t you have something better to do with your time? I’m sure you can easily think of at least a dozen things you’d rather be doing. Playing with your kids or pets? Reading a book? Catching up with friends on the porch over a pitcher of iced tea?
4. Lawns are a waste of space. Why grow grass when you could grow a beautiful garden of native species and vegetables?
5. Lawns cause air pollution. While razor push-mowers are coming back, the majority of people in the United States still rely on the gasoline-powered lawn mowers, which have an enormous carbon footprint. The 54 million Americans mowing their lawns each weekend with gas-powered mowers may be contributing as much as five percent of the nation’s air pollution, according to the EPA.
The EPA estimates that the amount of pollution emitted by a lawnmower operating for one hour is equivalent to the amount of pollution emitted by a car driven for approximately 45 miles.
6. Lawns encourage the use of fertilizers and lawn treatments that are hazardous to people, animals, and water. Each year, the United States spends $700 million on the 67 million pounds of synthetic pesticides that are used on U.S. lawns, according to the EPA.
7. Lawns waste money. Each year, this country spends $25 billion on the lawn care industry, according to the EPA. That is insane to me. With the economy in the tank, I can think of much better ways to spend our limited financial resources than maintaining our lawns.
8. Lawns can be dangerous to maintain. Each year, 60,000 to 70,000 severe accidents result from lawnmowers, according to the EPA.
9. Lawns kill. Wildlife specialists call bird poisonings in residential areas “lawncare syndrome.” Symptoms include excessive salivation, grand mal seizures, wild flapping and screaming, most often followed by death.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, lawn use is a significant component of the total pesticide problem. NAS said that although the farmer uses pesticides more widely, the homeowner uses 10 times more per acre than do farmers.
10. Lawns are damaging our hearing. Powered mowers contribute to noise pollution and hearing loss. I’d much rather hear the sounds of birds chirping than the endless roar of lawn mowers that permeate our neighborhoods.
Are you ready to tear up your lawn?